Twitter Stands Up For Devin Nunes' Parody Accounts: Won't Reveal Who's Behind Them

from the good-for-twitter dept

A couple weeks ago, we noted that the judge in Virginia presiding over Devin Nunes' bullshit censorial lawsuit against Twitter, some parody Twitter accounts, and political strategist Liz Mair, had demanded that Twitter reveal to the judge who was behind the two parody accounts (for "Devin Nunes' Cow" and "Devin Nunes' Mom.") As we pointed out at the time, this request was highly unusual. Yes, the judge was in the process of determining if the case did not belong in Virginia, so he wanted to know if the people behind the accounts were based in Virginia, but there are ways to do that that protect the anonymity of the account holders (anonymity being a 1st Amendment right). Specifically, he could have just asked whether or not the account holders appeared to be based in Virginia.

We also wondered if Twitter would refuse the request -- as it has done in the past. And the answer is yes. Twitter has told the judge it won't comply, but did say that neither of the account holders lived in Virginia -- which should satisfy the only legal reason why the judge might want to know who they were.

Twitter on Wednesday told the judge it does not intend to disclose the names of the authors of accounts known as Devin Nunes’ Cow and Devin Nunes’ Mom, according to documents obtained by McClatchy.

“Defending and respecting the user’s voice is one of our core values at Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson said in response to questions about the court filing. “This value is a two-part commitment to freedom of expression and privacy.”

Twitter in a message to other defendants in the case said it told the judge that the authors of the accounts do not live or work in Virginia....

[....]

“Undersigned counsel has been in contact with lawyers who have advised Twitter that they represent, respectively, the user or users of the @DevinCow account and the user or users of the @DevinNunesMom account,” the letter states. “Each of those counsel has authorized me to inform the Court, through this letter, that their respective client or clients do not reside or work in Virginia and never used the account while physically present in Virginia.”

This is good to see, though it remains to be seen how the judge feels about Twitter pushing back on his request. Again, the whole case is ridiculous and should be thrown out for a whole variety of reasons. But it's already worrisome that the judge thought it was fine to unmask the parody account holders, even if he promised that he would keep the identities secret.

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Filed Under: anonymity, devin nunes, devin nunes cow, free speech, jurisdiction, privacy
Companies: twitter


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  1. identicon
    Annonymouse, 13 Sep 2019 @ 10:19am

    A judge that asked for names and promises to keep it confidential is not to be trusted..
    Time for some investigative reporters to do some digging and see who owns them.


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